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ECAR Fact Sheet for California
Window-Washing Fluid

Regulations
Self-Audit Checklist
Best Management Practices
Contacts
Related ECAR Fact Sheets
Other Relevant Resources

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The following fact sheet was prepared by the ECAR Center staff. Once prepared, each ECAR Center fact sheet undergoes a review process with the applicable state environmental agency(ies). You can check on the status of the review process here. Please read the disclaimer on the status page. While we have tried to present a summary of the essential information on this topic, you should be aware that other items, such as local regulations, may apply to you.

What You Need to Know

The main thing to remember about window-washing fluid is not to mix it with any other fluid that could turn it into a hazardous waste.  If you keep it uncontaminated, it does not have to be a waste at all -- it can even be of value to you, since recovered window-washing fluid can be resold or given to customers or employees.

But even if you have kept it clean, do not pour it down the drain.


Regulations

Window-washing fluid is mainly water with small amounts of alcohol and detergent and possibly antifreeze. Unless window wiper fluid is mixed with other fluids, it can be recycled without any regulatory impacts. Window-washing fluid cannot be disposed of onto the ground, in septic tanks, in sewer systems, or storm drains.

If window-washing fluid is combined with other fluids, the mixture may be a hazardous waste and you should perform a hazardous waste determination.

Links to the Regulations. Use the following links to view the regulations pertaining to window washing fluid.

Federal EPA Standards Applicable to Generators of Hazardous Waste

California Health and Safety Code


Self-Audit Checklist

When an inspector comes to your facility, there are certain things he or she checks to see if you are in compliance with environmental regulations. It makes good sense for you to perform a "self-audit" and catch and correct problems before they result in penalties. Also, there are some compliance incentives associated with self-audits (see Audit Policy Page).

Use the following list to audit your procedures for recycle/disposal of window-washing fluid.

  1. Window-washing fluid can be managed as a non-hazardous waste if it is not combined with other fluids. Verify that window-washing fluid is accumulated into separate storage containers and that no other types of fluids are added to these containers.
  2. Window-washing fluid cannot be disposed of onto the ground, in septic tanks, in sewer systems, or storm drains. Verify that procedures are in place to properly manage and dispose/recycle window-washing fluid.

Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Most regulations tell you what you have to do to be in compliance, but they don't explain how to do it. That's where "best management practices" come into play. BMPs are proven methods that help you to get into compliance and stay there.

The following BMPs are recommended for management and recycle of window-washing fluid:

  • Drain window-washing fluid during dismantling and before vehicle is stored in yard.
  • Store window-washing fluid on a concrete (impermeable) surface in covered containers that are clearly marked (e.g., "Reclaimed Window-washing Fluid."
  • Reuse reclaimed window-washing fluid in facility or employee vehicles.
  • Sell or give away reclaimed window-washing fluid to customers.

Contacts

  1. California Department of Toxic Substances Control: 916-323-2678.
  2. Public and Business Liaison Hotline: 800-728-6942.
  3. Office of Emergency Services Warning Center: 800-852-7550.

Related ECAR Fact Sheets

None.


Other Relevant Resources

None.


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